Pay the Ute Cemetery some respect | AspenTimes.com

Pay the Ute Cemetery some respect

All about Aspen are treasures from the past, some forgotten after many years along hidden byways or in the backwater of Aspen life. Ute Cemetery is such a cherished place, held dear in the hearts of longtime Aspenites who, on quiet summer evenings, come to visit this hidden place of beauty.

You can imagine our consternation and dismay, viewing with disbelief, the incredible destruction of a natural environment that over the many years of solitude has enhanced the beauty and added to the charm of Ute Cemetery.

The grace and beauty of this cemetery has been irreparably altered by a thoughtless act of “improvement.” I cannot imagine or even consider the present path construction as an act of preservation in keeping with the historic character and sense of place that Ute Cemetery has been all these years.

What is staff thinking about in creating such wide paths? Why is it necessary to build such wandering “park-like” paths for bicycles or hordes of curiosity seekers?

Do you also intend to put up a large sign saying: “Ute Cemetery – Aspen’s oldest cemetery – Welcome! Come on in. The views are great! See the old graves and quaint iron fences. Please do not litter, pick up after your dog and use the bear-proof trash receptacle after your picnic. Thank You! The City of Aspen Parks Dept.”

The history of this community is written in the deeds of its citizens, and is preserved in physical form. Had the deeds of the past not been preserved in script and stone, had we not honored the past by its preservation, then how would generations to come learn of their struggles, trials, triumphs and failures?

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The answers lie in the lives of those who have gone before us, leaving a legacy of perseverance and fortitude. We, then, must give honor to their lives, by showing a respect and reverence for their final resting place.

City Council should direct staff to reassess its current restoration practices in a manner that is in keeping with the historical character and values of Aspen.

This particular project is an example of good intentions gone awry. The unintended consequence being the loss of an irreplaceable Aspen treasure. Please direct staff to retain the charm and grace of this old cemetery.

Please do not “improve” the historic Ute Cemetery out of existence.

Jim Markalunas

Aspen